Saying Goodbye

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Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. My beloved puppy, Riley, was sent to heaven.  We were devastated to find out how much pain our sweet boy was in and amazed at his courage throughout his decline. Even though it hurt for him to move, he still met me at the door one last time, just as he has done faithfully for the last 8 years.

Riley came into my life in December 2005, at the end of my fall semester of my sophomore year at NC State. To be honest, I was avoiding studying for my quantitative chemistry final exam and had been perusing dog rescue websites. For some reason, I had in my mind that I needed a dog.  This didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, seeing as how I was living in my sorority house with a NO PET policy.  That didn’t stop my pursuit.  I saw this picture on the Wake County Animal Shelter website, and couldn’t resist paying him a visit. He was listed on the website as “Scooter” and as I walked toward his small concrete cell, the staff member told me he came to the shelter fully groomed.  The staff kept expecting his owners to find him, so they had kept him a little longer than most of the animals who were picked up.  riley1

I remember being startled by how excited he was to see me. He was full of energy, love, and had a sweet nature.  I was expecting him to be a little timid, or shy, but he wasn’t at all. He jumped up on the bench next to me and sniffed and cuddled, but never licked or barked or got too aggressive. Even though we had just met, I knew we were meant for each other.  I told the lady who worked there I wanted to take him home.  She told me he was certainly lucky, as in just two days he was going to be put to sleep since he had stayed well over the typical time allotted.

I made a phone call to my parents.  My dad answered, and I told him “Scooter’s” story.  I needed their permission to keep him at their house for the next six months, until I moved out of the sorority house and into my own apartment.  Dad said there was no way my mom would go for that.  I put down the deposit at the shelter, but left “Scooter”  until I could get a final answer from my mom.  Mom called back and said “No, no, no, no, no.”  In those exact words.  Somehow, by the end of the conversation, I changed her mind and went back to pick up  my sweet boy the very next day.  The rest is, as they say, history.

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Christmas 2005

There is no way to put into words the joy this little fellow brought me and my family over the last 8 years.  He was the most loyal, loving, and joyful puppy.  He settled right into our family and our hearts and we haven’t looked back since.  He went through intense heart worm treatments when we brought him home from the shelter, and he immediately captured the hearts of our veterinary staff in Goldsboro, One of the veterinary technicians even nicknamed him “Lucky.”  He brought a smile to everyone’s face.  He was a constant in my life when things were chaotic.  He was always by my side, during countless nights of studying, hours upon hours of riding back and forth from home and NCSU, and through all the ups and downs being an early twenty-something brings.  He always kept me company when I was sick and tried his very best to make me happy (which he was very good at).

It wasn’t until my relationship with the Tar Heel that my sweet Riley began to embrace someone new in my life.  The Tar Heel was initially pretty reserved about the idea of having a pet. He had met Riley and thought he was “ok,” but he was adamant that he didn’t want an inside pet. And even though Riley had always lived inside with me, the Tar Heel thought Riley would have to adjust to life “outdoors” once we got married.  I knew that would never happen, but I told him I agreed anyway.  Sure enough, when Riley moved in with us, the Tar Heel became obsessed with him and never, ever mentioned keeping him outside again.  It was shocking how fast they became friends.  After we got married, Riley’s “allegiance” shifted. He quickly became Dustin’s best friend and constant companion.  I actually believe Riley came into my life to end up with Dustin.  They formed a bond even deeper than the one I shared with my sweet little bear, and that brought me so much joy.

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Riley and his very first baby. I gave this toy to him at the shelter when I brought him home, and we laid him to rest with this toy by his side.

I held his paws and rubbed his little head and soft ears and talked to him about the wonderful loves ones he was about to meet in Heaven as the veterinarian administered the medications to put him to rest.  I will probably always carry some guilt with me that we had to make a decision to end his life.  But I am so grateful that I had 8 years and 3 beautiful months with my Ri-bear, and that the Lord granted us enough time with him  that he could meet our sweet Emmy.  He could have left this physical world 8 years ago at the shelter, in a room full of strangers and without the chance to bring me and my family so much joy. I am so thankful the Lord had a different plan for him.

We miss you, darling boy.  I hope you are loving your new home in Heaven and look forward to seeing you again some day!

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Dustin meeting Riley for the first time, Fall 2009
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My handsome boy at the Five Points house. He loved to look out windows and would do so at any given opportunity!
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One of his many rides home with me from college. He was always happy to go home to Princeton, his “country home.” He always knew where we were as soon as we turned onto our path.
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They made each other so very happy
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Best buddies

3D Deliciousness

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Perfect for little baby bee feet :)

I’ve been out of school for nearly two weeks and I still feel as though there is more to be done between now and October 24th than I could ever actually accomplish! I am hoping this sense of being overwhelmed goes away soon.  (I have a feeling it will not!)  But, while moving an entire house and setting up a nursery/preparing for baby can be the very definition of crazy at times, I am so thrilled and blessed to be given such a wonderfully “crazy” task. Dustin and I are getting so excited and a little nervous, of course.  But we know that at the end of the day, the Lord never gives you more than you can handle and so we are resting on Him and His reassurance that we will make it!

Baby G
Baby G

This morning we had our 3D ultrasound.  It is our final “scheduled” ultrasound and so we asked Dustin’s step-mom to join us.  All of Baby Gurley’s grandmas have now met her in utero. Admittedly, we used these ultrasound visits as opportunities to get each of them even MORE excited for her arrival, and I think it worked!  I know our little girl is already so deeply loved by each of her grandparents, even before she takes her first breath of air.  Today’s ultrasound visit was especially amazing, however.  Truthfully, I had never been a fan of the 3D U/S images I had seen people put up on facebook and other social media outlets.  I thought they were a bit creepy.  BUT, it is a whole different story when the creepy 3D U/S pictures are of your OWN little baby! :)  We couldn’t have been happier with our images and the whole visit was just so sweet.  We even got to take home some video of her yawning and rubbing her little hand to her face.  Seeing her move while feeling her move also makes a lot more sense to me now. She has been getting SO active, and watching my tummy bounce and contort into various positions has been funny and interesting, to say the least! It was nice to watch her move in real time to understand specifically what her kicks/rolls/punches feel like.  I joke with Dustin every night that we have an Olympic athlete in training.  Sometimes she really “goes for the gold” with her kicks and punches and it takes my breath away! But, she has been doing that to me since day one. :)

Riley getting some Bump love
Riley getting some Bump love

Mom and I finally finished registering for baby girl and I am glad that task is behind us.  I didn’t think it would be quite so difficult, seeing as how three years ago I was registering for a wedding.  But  let it be known, this is completely different from registering for a wedding.  First, you don’t have a clue what you should register for in the first place. Second, who knows that what you do register for will even work for your baby?  Every time I scanned one of the Johnson & Johnson Bedtime bath lotions/moisture wash/shampoos (I simply LOVE that smell), I would think about the babies who suffer from eczema who can’t even use anything but fragrance/dye/chemical free.  Or when I register for breastpump accessories. What if I can’t breastfeed for some reason? Or bottles. Oh good Heavens, the number of bottles to choose from and the multitudes of opinions that accompany each of them. At the end of the day, I can rest easy in a few registry picks I am fairly certain we will need without question: blankets, onesies, and diapers.

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 We found our peds office!  Dustin and I went to the meet-and-greet after hearing wonderful things about their PA, and while we were there we found out one of their physicians in the practice was a favorite lecturer of mine last semester. We were sold at that point!  Yep, we are driving our kid to a peds office over 30 minutes away.  Yep, we might be crazy.  And yep, I know it will be worth it for her to receive excellent healthcare.

 Slowly but surely we are making our way to the finish line. And I can hardly wait to get my arms around her cute little self!  Eeeek I am so excited! :)

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29 Weeks Stats

Baby is the size of: Small cabbage (And weighing in at 3lbs, 2 oz officially)

Favorite food this week: Dippin dots icecream in Banana Split. Dirt cake from Sheets gas station (who knew they even had this? but omg, so good).

Good news: Passed Glucola test! Woot!  Bring on the dessert.

Babymoon #3: Charleston, SC coming up in two days! YAY!

Favorite new thing: Since we are now counting fetal kicks, I am hyper-aware of her movements but more specifically, her lack of movements. If we go more than an hour without feeling a kick (or even small movement) we have learned exactly what to do to get a little kick from her — a gentle push on the right side of my belly with my palm.  She does NOT like her space to be invaded! We get an immediate response from her (generally).  We tried rubbing, talking, lights, etc. – but this seems to work best. I am still super nervous at having to count kicks at all…

Favorite daddy-to-be moment: When I asked Dustin what his favorite part of my pregnancy has been so far he replied with “Two words: ICE. CREAM.” hah!

Fall Break

Can’t believe it is already Oct. 26th (the eve of my 27th birthday). Where did this semester go?

Yesterday we had an anatomy test at 8am and 2 hours/100 questions on Endocrine, Digestion, Reproduction and the Urinary system later,  my brain is STILL trying to recover.  So here goes my post on Fall Break…two weeks later. What can I say, It is what it is, people!

Thursday, aka Fall Break Day 1:

  • Early morning manicure with my sweet PA friend, Alex, where we chatted all about her engagement shoot that was happening that weekend in Asheville (which turned out AMAZING by the way!)
  • Lunch with my BFF Erin at Cafe Cattura and dessert at Sugarland in Cameron Village, aka my Happy Place!
  • Farm Worker’s Clinic with one of my PA school instructors.  This was an awesome experience for me. I got to do my first breast exam on a patient, saw a gentleman who decided to remove his own cast after breaking his ankle because he wanted to make sure his “meat was growing back with the bone” along with some other fairly awesome cases…all in SPANISH! I left the clinic with a renewed hope of becoming fluent in Spanish AND a bit of an obsession with the idea of doing a Spanish medical immersion program. But, I have to get my degree first so no carts before the horse.

Friday, aka Fall Break Day 2:

  • The Tar Heel took the day off so we got to spend an entire weekday together!! It was amazing!  I cannot tell you how much I have missed him during this little “venture” into PA school. We’ve had to do a lot of adjusting and sacrificing of time for each other so it was nice to just “be” for one day. We had no agenda, no plans and total relaxation. We ended up relaxing the whole day and rounding out the evening with seeing Old Habits play downtown at 42nd Street Oyster Bar.  My lil Ave and her husband, Grant, made an appearance and so did Erin and her beau, Sammy.  It was a LOT of fun. So much fun I forgot how long it has been since I was able to enjoy a glass of wine and boy did I make up for lost time that night.  But I had the BEST time with my girls. True friends are really priceless.

Saturday, aka Fall Break Day 3:

  • Recovered from Fall Break Day (night) 2.
  • Made a spontaneous decision to go to Naylor Family Farms with Riley and the Tar Heel where we experienced the Corn Maze, picked a couple of pumpkins and went on a hay ride. The Tar Heel also insisted on taking Riley down two giant slides and he actually LOVED it. Me on the other hand — I was a basket case thinking Riley was going to try and jump off or get hurt.  I am already nervous thinking about our kids and their destiny of shenanigans given their father’s adventurous childhood… eeek!! Glad that’s far away :)

Sunday, aka Fall Break Day 4:

  • Went to an awesome church service at Hope Community Church – Holly Springs campus!!
  • Relaxed a bit more….
  • ….and finally said goodbye to Fall Break and wound up studying for my Pharmacotherapeutics test the following Tuesday. All good things must come to an end!

We let Riley Roo lead the way.  He got us lost. A lot…

Had to throw in the last few pictures from our State Fair trip… oh my goodness we had so much fun. Even though it didn’t happen over Fall Break I just had to include these pics :)

Apparently…

Captain Riley says the coast is clear.

…we have a water dog on our hands.  Riley’s first boat ride occurred this weekend and he was smitten.  Once we found just the right spot to anchor at the Point, Riley wasted no time jumping in and doggy paddling his way into everyone’s heart.  Adorable.

Why am I not in the water yet? Hurry up, Mom!

This Monday marks the last week of my job and I am so excited to spend the next three weeks seeing everyone I can and squeezing as much quality time in with our loved ones as possible.  From August 13 and for 28 months following, I have been told to tell our friends and family that I am, generally speaking, “unavailable.”  For reals.  I know these next few months are going to be the hardest I’ve ever experienced in my life, but it will be worth it in the end!

Motorboatin’ is hard work.

And on an unrelated note, I am happy to report the Tar Heel saved yet another plant’s life. Our gardenia plant came back from the dead with great ferocity and the fragrant blooms offer a pleasant, Southern welcome  to our visitors.  This lovely plant lives on our porch and came to us as a house warming gift from my parents.  The Tar Heel saved it (as well as the majority of our plants) and I am so grateful for his green thumb.

Home

I’m not sure where the entire month of March went, but I’m sure we were packing or unpacking a box during it.  What an adventure this time has been — from learning of our fast approaching move-out date, to finding somewhere to live, to being excited to leave Savannah, to being sad to leave Savannah, to losing a beloved member of the family, to making the six hour move back to my old stomping grounds.  Throw in our One Year Anniversary and my head is basically spinning.  What a roller coaster life can be at times.  Fortunately, with the right person beside you, each passing second is more brilliant than the last.  One of the best parts about moving back home to NC would have to be that we are finally a family of three with my sweet Riley Bear back at home with us.  He hasn’t lived with me since 2009 but my parents have been great enough to keep him for me at his “country home.” He is a rescue puppy from the  animal shelter and when I got him in 2005 the vet estimated him to be 3-5 years old.  So now he is an elderly puppy and has some special needs and is a greeeat reminder of how long we have to wait before we welcome more “puppies” to our home. Side note: The second morning Riley was with us he got sick and threw up in the kitchen, probably from the stress of moving (which I can understand).  My loving, wonderful husband woke up early and when he saw the throw up, he decided to cover it with a towel and went back to bed.       I.Kid.You.Not.    We have had a lot of fun conversations about that incident… :) But Riley really is the best puppy EVER and Dustin, fortunately, loves him as much as I do (probably a little more…)  I love my little family and it is good to be Home.

“To a new chapter of our wonderful lives…  Happy (Holly) Spring(s)”  :)

My “Happy Spring” flowers from the Tar Heel

I LOVE our Red Door!!

Roses blooming like ca-razy!

Literally one of the two things on any of our walls in the entire house right now… but we’ll get there!

My two boys :)